Symone Sanders is a force to be reckoned with, which is why she was named to The Root 100, our annual list of the most influential African Americans ages 25-45.
The 26-year-old was formerly the national press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and was No. 65 on our list. Like her ex-boss, Symone Sanders has the ability to move rooms. At The Root 100 Gala Monday at Guastavino’s in New York City, she delivered a moving speech to a rapt audience on the power of youths and black women.
“It is young people that fundamentally changed the course of American politics over the past year,” said the current CNN commentator and political strategist.
“I want you to know that anything is possible,” she said, referring to Bernie Sanders’ ability to be a viable candidate for the Democratic Party. And, conversely, the unimaginable. “Anything is possible, to be honest; that’s how we got President-elect Trump,” said Sanders.
Despite election results that were disappointing to many, Sanders found time to honor and celebrate the work and contributions of African-American women, who came out for Hillary Clinton at 94 percent in the general election.
“Black women have been holding up the mantle for America since we can remember,” she said. “We stand on the shoulders of people like Fannie Lou Hamer, who said, whether you have a Ph.D. or no D, we’re in this bag together. … We stand on the shoulders of people like Shirley Chisholm, who was ‘unbought and unbossed.’” To say that Sanders left The Root 100 Gala attendees fired up might be an understatement.
Check out highlights from Sanders’ 2016 The Root 100 Gala speech:
Felice León is multimedia editor at The Root.